Tuesday, 15 January 2019 09:44

Researchers closer to data superhighway for quantum Internet

An artist's impression of the research team's innovative system of detectors along quantum circuits to monitor light particles. An artist's impression of the research team's innovative system of detectors along quantum circuits to monitor light particles. Kai Wang, ANU

Researchers from the Australian National University are part of a team that is involved in building a data superhighway for the anticipated quantum Internet which will store data in light particles.

A statement from the ANU said the quantum Internet would provide ultra-secure communications.

Associate Professor Andrey Sukhorukov, who led the research along with a team from the Nonlinear Physics Centre of the ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering, said: “The light particles move really fast so, for quality-control purposes, we’ve developed a way to monitor and measure them along quantum circuits, which are like superhighways for the light particles to travel along."

Doctorate student Kai Wang, who worked on the project, said measuring light particles could interfere with the operation of the quantum circuit and thus there was a need to work around this challenge.

To achieve this, a system of detectors was designed along the quantum circuits to monitor light particles without losing the information that they store, by preserving the quantum state in which they were transmitted.

anu highway

Associate Professor Andrey Sukhorukov and Kai Wang. Courtesy: ANU

“We guided light particles to two parallel paths, like two lanes on a highway: one lane has a faster speed limit than the other one, and light particles can freely change their lanes,” Wang said.

“Along both lanes there are several detectors to simultaneously check exactly how many light particles were passing these detectors at the same time.”

He said the team had lost only a small fraction of the light particles through this process, without affecting the quantum state of the transmitted light particles.

“Our detection system can be built into a large, integrated network of quantum circuits, to help monitor light particles in real time," Wang added.

The researchers who collaborated on the project, led by Professor Alexander Szameit at the University of Rostock in Germany, tested the feasibility of this new approach in experiments with custom-designed fabricated optical circuits.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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